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National Restaurant Association - NRA Show plates up social media tips, franchising secrets, star chefs

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NRA Show plates up social media tips, franchising secrets, star chefs

In its continuing effort to offer restaurant and foodservice operators the opportunity to learn as much as possible about how to improve their businesses, the National Restaurant Association is presenting a series of diverse educational sessions as well as demos featuring some of the industry’s most well-known celebrity chefs at the NRA Show in Chicago.

Restaurateurs looking for tips and tools on how to operate their businesses better and more cost-effectively will be able to attend numerous education sessions on everything from boosting sales with social marketing to satisfying customers’ demands for more nutritious fare to understanding the ins-and-outs of menu-labeling.

“We are constantly evolving the NRA Show to meet the needs of an ever-changing industry,” said Dawn Sweeney, president & CEO of the National Restaurant Association, who added that this year’s event, under the guidance of convention chair and Association board member Sam Facchini, would provide “products, services and programming that can help operators realize their potential in today’s market.”

This year’s show, at the city’s venerable McCormick Place convention center May 17-20, will kick off with several cooking demonstrations from world famous celebrity chefs, such as Rick Bayless, a Top Chef Masters winner and owner-operator of Chicago-based restaurants Frontera, Topolobampo and Xoco; Robert Irvine, host of the Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible TV series; Graham Elliot, the Michelin-starred restaurateur and James Beard Award nominee; Top Chef contestant Fabio Viviani, owner-operator of Café Firenze and Firenze Osteria in Los Angeles; and Duff Goldman, star of the hit TV show Ace of Cakes and founder-owner of Charm City Cakes bakery in Baltimore. The chef demonstrations will be part of the show’s World Culinary Showcase program.

In addition to the education sessions and culinary demos, NRA Show attendees also will get a chance to hear from several of the most successful presidents and CEOs of franchise operators, who will share stories about their business hits and misses, and what to and not do to achieve success. This year’s presidents’ panel is composed of industry veterans Martin O’Dowd, president of Hurricane Grill & Wings; Bill Spae, CEO of Vasari LLC and a 40-year veteran of such brands as McDonald’s, T.G.I. Friday’s and Burger King; and Phil Friedman, CEO of Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina and former chairman and CEO of McAllister’s Corp., former parent of the McAllister’s Deli chain, now owned by private-equity investor Roark Capital Group in Atlanta.

For a full list of sessions and events at this year’s NRA Show, go here.

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